Author Topic: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods  (Read 7184 times)

Offline Pinski

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #30 on: February 07, 2014, 08:54:45 AM »
Bummer to hear about your woes guys.  I brew in an insulated garage, and keep a carbon monoxide alarm nearby, open the garage door about 6" off the ground, same with a back door to increase the amount of airflow.  I brewed when it was 9ºF outside, not sure how cold it was in my garage when I started, but during the boil it got up to the mid 50s in there.

Although, during winters like this one, I wish there was an electric version of the brew magic system; so that we can brew totally indoors.
This is how I brew as well, I also have a mudroom off the garage with a window that I can open up and put a window exhaust fan in to boost the airflow a bit more. I brewed in December like this on an 18ºF day.
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #31 on: February 07, 2014, 10:22:19 AM »
Bummer to hear about your woes guys.  I brew in an insulated garage, and keep a carbon monoxide alarm nearby, open the garage door about 6" off the ground, same with a back door to increase the amount of airflow.  I brewed when it was 9ºF outside, not sure how cold it was in my garage when I started, but during the boil it got up to the mid 50s in there.

Although, during winters like this one, I wish there was an electric version of the brew magic system; so that we can brew totally indoors.

I tried this method this morning, except with the garage door open to the height of the burners. Garage was 42F when I started, but with the door open (even with a CO detector, brewing alone makes me lean to the safe side) the outside temp was freezing the pump/dump valve. No dice.

Next weekend will be 45F, so I am hopeful for a successful brew day then. In regards to my RIMS temp issue from earlier, it sounds like I was doing several things from my old system (stirring the mash, crushing fine, etc) and not letting the element get proper contact with the recirculating wort. I haven't been able to test this with the current temperatures in the area though.
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Offline Scot (one T)

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #32 on: February 07, 2014, 11:49:22 AM »
The secret to Sabco brewing in sub freezing temps is a $15 Harbor Freight heat gun.   I frequently need to thaw some or all of the piping.  I find I can dial in my recirculation temp by heating more slowly.  For some strange reason, this greatly reduces the need to re-light the burner several times.    I brewed Tuesday in -5 degree weather and once I thawed the system out.....it worked flawlessly.   The hose from the house to the garage did freeze up when chilling though.
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #33 on: February 07, 2014, 11:58:48 AM »
The secret to Sabco brewing in sub freezing temps is a $15 Harbor Freight heat gun.   I frequently need to thaw some or all of the piping.  I find I can dial in my recirculation temp by heating more slowly.  For some strange reason, this greatly reduces the need to re-light the burner several times.    I brewed Tuesday in -5 degree weather and once I thawed the system out.....it worked flawlessly.   The hose from the house to the garage did freeze up when chilling though.

I knew I should have asked you Scot.

Can you describe your mash process by chance? You mention heating more slowly, which makes me curious.
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Offline Scot (one T)

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #34 on: February 07, 2014, 12:31:26 PM »
When heating strike water....I always go at least 5 degrees higher than the calculation says.  It will drop to the proper temp very quickly(under 5 minutes) and reduces the re-lighting step.  The "heating slowly" is more for stepping up in step mashes.  If I heat slowly, it dials in immediately.  If I crank up the heat....I have to go through the re-light sequence several times until I dial in the temp.
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Offline mchrispen

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #35 on: February 07, 2014, 12:59:50 PM »
Ya'll are troopers. I cannot imagine brewing in the bitter cold like that - even though I lived in Colorado, Kansas and Nebraska. I hate brewing in my 115F garage in the summers, which gives my fermenter real troubles, and my ground water is 90F.

The suggestion about recirculating the strike water for a while is good advice. [/size]I really think preheating the system up with a hot recirculation is the key, as is keeping the air movement around the kettles to a minimum. The whole system is a giant heat sink... and you could think of it like starting your car 10 minutes before you drive to get it heated up. Use that spare time to sort your hops or mineral additions... shovel a path...[/font]
[/size]
[/size]Do stay warm.

Offline Scot (one T)

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #36 on: February 07, 2014, 01:26:13 PM »
There is a trade off to cold weather brewing:

     A)  You freeze your butt off

     B)  You can chill 10 gallons of Pilsner in under 5 minutes
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #37 on: February 07, 2014, 01:51:43 PM »
When heating strike water....I always go at least 5 degrees higher than the calculation says.  It will drop to the proper temp very quickly(under 5 minutes) and reduces the re-lighting step.  The "heating slowly" is more for stepping up in step mashes.  If I heat slowly, it dials in immediately.  If I crank up the heat....I have to go through the re-light sequence several times until I dial in the temp.

So, let's say I want to Hochkurz mash at 145 and then 162 or something like that. I would mash in after heating the whole system with a water recirc, I fill the fun from the bottom until it flows above the false bottom. Then I pour in the grain, and fill with more water. No stirring. I get the water 1" above the grain bed. Then I let it sit. Do you let it sit? How long? Then recirc the mash, starting around 145, 2 degrees/hour, until I hit 162. Turn off burner and let the RIMS take over.

Am I thinking correctly?
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Offline Hooch

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #38 on: February 07, 2014, 01:59:27 PM »
I just PM'ed you the BM Operations Manual, for your reading pleasure.  In there you'll find the whole mashing in procedure and even how a light stirring will benefit before starting the recirculation.

Cheers,
Hooch
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #39 on: February 07, 2014, 02:06:40 PM »
I just PM'ed you the BM Operations Manual, for your reading pleasure.  In there you'll find the whole mashing in procedure and even how a light stirring will benefit before starting the recirculation.

Cheers,
Hooch

I'll give it a read. To be honest, I'm much better at doing things than reading about doing things.

BTW, John at Sabco told me not to stir. Aaaaand I'm convinced this thing is too finicky. Its like dealing with a temperamental cat!
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Online jeffy

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #40 on: February 07, 2014, 02:20:24 PM »
Mine is an old model without any fancy-pants lighters or switches, but I always heat up the whole amount of mash water, pour in the grain then stir it up. 
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Offline Scot (one T)

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #41 on: February 07, 2014, 02:42:15 PM »
     I heat my strike water to apx 5 degrees higher than the desired mash temp.....open all of the valves to flood the system with warm water.  I don't use the pump.   I fill from the bottom to apx 1-2 inches above the false bottom.  I dump in the grain...pump in the remaining strike water from the top.  I stir thoroughly (yep, I said stir) and then recirc.  I've never had a problem with stirring....had issues when I didn't.  When stepping up the temp....go very slowly...10 minutes between steps works fine.
    My first few brews were as frustrating as yours.  Once you get to know the system and it's quirks....you'll love it.   I'd take my system over a finicky cat any day.  But then again, I have finicky "partial" cats.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2014, 02:45:58 PM by Scot (one T) »
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #42 on: February 07, 2014, 03:54:32 PM »
    My first few brews were as frustrating as yours.  Once you get to know the system and it's quirks....you'll love it.   I'd take my system over a finicky cat any day.  But then again, I have finicky "partial" cats.

That is encouraging, especially the part about Karen's kitties. :)
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #43 on: February 15, 2014, 11:12:52 AM »


It's a good brew day today. Brewing a Munich Helles, ended up going for a Hochkurz step mash with rests at 122, 145, & 162. Mash out at 168 and fly sparged.

Went off with out a hitch, thanks to all of the help I've received from all of you guys. Check out that super clear first runnings!

Scot, you're right. Once it works for you and not against you, this thing is a dream.
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Offline duboman

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Re: Sabco Brew Magic Owners - Thoughts, Processes & Mods
« Reply #44 on: February 15, 2014, 01:31:23 PM »
Just a thought Amanda,

It sounds as though the rig is garage kept and residual moisture freezes in the lines when not in use.

I don't have a single tier set up but thought perhaps if there was a way to blow the system out with compressed air after brewing it might help in keeping things from freezing up.

Glad to hear your day today went well!
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